Nebraska Falls to North Carolina State in 4 OT Heartbreaker

The Nebraska men’s basketball team had numerous chances to pick up a road win Wednesday night at NC State, but the Wolfpack rallied on multiple occasions en route to a 104-100 quadruple-overtime win at PNC Arena.

The Huskers (5-3) led by 14 with less than 10 minutes to play in regulation but gave up a game-tying 14-0 run to the Wolfpack. NU also led by one with 16 seconds remaining in regulation and was denied a chance to win as Alonzo Verge Jr. missed a potential game-winning shot as time expired on an attempt where it appeared he was hit on the arm.

After missing a chance to win in the closing seconds of regulation, Nebraska missed another potential game-winning shot in the first overtime. Then in the second overtime, Bryce McGowens went to the line with 2.5 seconds left and the Huskers trailing by one. McGowens calmly sank the first free throw but following an NC State timeout, his second free throw rimmed out. In the third overtime, Nebraska led by two until NC State tied the game with five seconds remaining.

NC State, which overcame a deficit in the final 20 seconds of regulation, the last 10 seconds of the first overtime, the final 50 seconds of the second overtime and the last 10 seconds of the third overtime, never trailed in the fourth overtime. The Wolfpack outscored the Huskers 12-8 in the final period to improve to 6-1 on the season.

Nebraska made seven more field goals than NC State – including three more 3-pointers – while shooting 42 percent compared to 37 percent by the Wolfpack. But in a matchup where both teams entered the game averaging 24 free throws per game, NC State shot 27 more free throws than the Huskers, going 32-of-42 at the line to outscore Nebraska (11-of-15) by 21 at the charity stripe.

Verge paced four Huskers in double figures. He posted a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds and narrowly missed out on a triple-double after dishing out eight assists. Derrick Walker Jr. also posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. McGowens added 24 points and nine rebounds, while Keisei Tominaga hit five 3-pointers and scored 16 points.

Dereon Seabron led NC State with 39 points and 18 rebounds. Seabron was 17-of-20 from the free throw line, taking more free throws than the entire Husker team combined. He scored 17 of his 39 points in the overtime periods, including a game-tying free throw with five seconds remaining in regulation, another game-tying free throw with six seconds left in the first overtime and a go-ahead basket with four seconds remaining in the third overtime.

Nebraska led by one at the half, using strong shooting to overcome 11 first-half turnovers. The Huskers shot 57 percent from the field in the half, including 13-of-17 from inside the arc, leading to a 24-12 advantage in the paint. Nebraska also out-rebounded NC State by four in the first half, and the Husker defense held the Wolfpack to 36 percent shooting.

Walker opened the scoring with the game’s first basket on Nebraska’s opening possession, but NC State scored the next eight points to race to an early six-point lead. Nebraska pulled to within one at 13-12 on a Tominaga 3-pointer but a 10-2 run gave the Wolfpack a 23-14 lead halfway through the period.

After the teams traded layups, McGowens scored seven points during an 11-3 Husker run that tied the game at 27 with six minutes left in the half. Nebraska grabbed the lead one minute later when Tominaga converted on a four-point play. NU led by as many as four then briefly fell behind before Verge hit a pair of free throws to send the Huskers into the locker room with a 39-38 lead.

Verge had 12 points in the first half, including all six Husker points in the final 3:25. He knocked down 5-of-7 shots and added five rebounds and four assists. McGowens and Tominaga each had seven first-half points for the Big Red.

Nebraska opened the second half with an 8-2 run, including five straight points by Lat Mayen. The Huskers hit a pair of 3-pointers during the run and another three from Tominaga – NU’s third 3-pointer in three minutes – gave Nebraska seven-point advantage at the under-16 media timeout.

Following an NC State basket, Nebraska scored seven straight points to stretch the lead to 57-44 with less than 12 minutes to play. The Husker defense held the Wolfpack scoreless for more than four minutes during the run, forcing seven consecutive missed shots.

Nebraska built its largest lead at 61-47 with 9:51 remaining before NC State made its surge. The Wolfpack needed less than four minutes to regain the lead, using a 14-0 run to tie the game. A skirmish following Jerico Hellems’ game-tying 3-pointer resulted in a double technical and ejections for both teams.

After a lengthy delay, McGowens snapped the run with a driving layup to break the tie. NC State scored the next three points to grab its first lead of the second half, but Tominaga answered with a 3-pointer and Verge was credited with a basket on a goaltending call to give the Huskers a 68-65 lead with 3:44 to play.

But Verge’s basket was the last points Nebraska would score for more than three minutes. With the Huskers struggling to score, Seabron hit a pair of baskets nearly two minutes apart to give NC State a one-point lead with two minutes remaining. Neither team scored again until Verge connected on a driving layup with 16.6 seconds remaining to give Nebraska a 70-69 lead. Seabron – who scored the final eight points of regulation for the Wolfpack – was then fouled and connected on 1-of-2 free throws with 7.2 seconds left to tie the game. Verge then drew contact on his potential game-winning shot as time expired but did not get the call and his shot missed.

The first overtime period was scoreless until the final minute. Nebraska missed its first seven shots before Walker scored in the paint to give Nebraska a 72-70 lead. NC State answered with a game-tying basket 14 seconds later, but Verge hit a floater in the lane to give Nebraska a 74-72 lead. Seabron then found himself back at the line, and he knocked down both free throws to tie the game with 16.4 seconds left. Verge had another chance to win it in the closing seconds, but his jumper missed.

NC State scored a basket just 16 seconds into the second overtime period but Nebraska answered with seven straight points. McGowens started the run with a tough basket, Tominaga added his fifth 3-pointer of the game and McGowens knocked down a pair of free throws to give Nebraska an 81-76 lead.

But on the ensuing possession, Nebraska fouled Hellems on a 3-point attempt and he knocked down two of his three free throws to trim the Husker lead to three with two minutes to play. Verge and Seabron then traded baskets before Walker and Seabron each made a pair of free throws, keeping the lead at three with one minute remaining. A fast-break basket layup pulled the Wolfpack to within one and Nebraska could not score on its next possession. Down by one, the Wolfpack called a timeout with 10.6 seconds left and Seabron quickly hit a layup following the break.

Trailing 86-85, Nebraska inbounded the ball with 4.6 seconds remaining and McGowens was fouled in the backcourt with 2.5 seconds on the clock. Despite being in the second overtime, Nebraska was still only in a 1-and-1 and McGowens made the first before NC State called a timeout. His second free throw after the timeout rolled out and a desperation heave from the Wolfpack hit the back iron, sending the game to a third overtime.

Nebraska scored the first four points of the third overtime on baskets from McGowens and C.J. Wilcher. Seabron then drew another foul and made two free throws to pull the Wolfpack within one with three minutes left. After a missed shot by Nebraska, Tominaga drew a charge on Seabron and Wilhelm Breidenbach hit a layup off an assist from Walker.

On the next possession, Nebraska appeared to force a jump ball with the possession arrow in the Huskers’ favor, but a late foul call came in, sending Breidenbach to the bench with five fouls and NC State’s Thomas Allen to the line, who knocked down two free throws to trim the lead to two. Neither team scored again until an Ebenezer Dowuona layup with five seconds remaining tied the game at 92-all. Each team had a shot in the closing seconds to win it, but neither connected.

In the fourth overtime, NC State knocked down a 3-pointer just 19 seconds into the period, and the Wolfpack scored six of the first eight points in the period. Nebraska trailed 98-95 following a Verge free and the Huskers cut the lead to three on two more occasions but could get no closer.

Nebraska is next in action on Saturday, when the Huskers open their Big Ten Conference schedule with a road matchup at Indiana.